updated 2/18/2011 4:08:26 PM ET 2011-02-18T21:08:26

1. What happens next on the Middle East street?
Watch Iran Monday -- where the Obama administration is openly rooting for its citizens to take inspiration from the Egypt model (regime change fueled by young people using Information Age media to break through totalitarian propaganda).  Throughout the region, how does the U.S. balance new calls for revolution with more traditional diplomatic caution, desire for stability, and support for existing allies?

2. How does the left react to Obama's proposed budget cuts?
The administration's spending plan will call for real cutbacks in areas such as home fuel assistance and aid to states -- not just symbolic freezes.  Do liberals revolt and risk rupture with the White House, or briefly protest and fall back into line to work side-by-side with Obama to fight the bigger cuts the Republicans want?

3. How does the right react to Obama's proposed tax increases?
The "read our lips, no new taxes" party will have an easy target in the added revenue in Obama's plan.  But, in the end, any grand bargain on deficit reduction will have some new taxes included.  Will responsible conservative voices tamp down calls for all-out war that would render future compromise harder?

Related: Last week's Driving the Week Web chat

4. Can Egypt nation-build itself?
Egyptians have choices galore about the government, the economy, Israel, and so much more.  The world will be watching as the initial decisions are made.  Also key: how will the United States and other countries use their influence and financial assistance to help steer Egypt towards a better future?

5. Will Jay Carney get a honeymoon?
The new White House press secretary takes over in the midst of an international crisis (about which he knows a lot) and on the cusp of 2011's decisive budget wars (which will require his finding the right balance between sweet and sour from the podium).  How will Carney’s former colleagues react as he works his way through high-profile on-the-job training.

This chat is moderated. As many questions as possible will be answered.

Video: Possible ripple effect in the Mideast

  1. Closed captioning of: Possible ripple effect in the Mideast

    >>> mark halperin will give us his top political stories to watch for in the week ahead. first on the lits, the middle east ripple effect. where are we looking? al engineer gentleman, yemen.

    >> the administration particularly focused on iran. forces have been unleashed now. the big question for the week and beyond is how many young people take to twitter and other organizing tools and try to change their countries. the egyptian model is one that will work in some places and could be dangerous in others. it will be interesting to watch how united states deals with it.

    >> they're promising the crack down on protests.

    >> in 2003 tom friedman and other people wrote articles. friedman said when he went to iran he expected them to say "death to america" because of the iraq invasion . he said most people he talked to were angry because we didn't go there. these are a group of people that we've heard for years 75% are pro western. this could light a fire --

    >> every one of these countries has young people , some people who want to see change. we'll see what happens in the other places.

    >> your second story driving the week, the president's budget. proposing cuts for services for the poor, pell grants and other areas that will upset the left. could we see a liberal revolt?

    >> the president is proposing things that if the republican president proposed on the left, we would go absolutely crazy. i don't think we'll see a big revolt. the battle for the white house is to keep these people on board and say we're going to fight together against republicans. it will be interesting to see as people absorb these cuts. these are pretty big cuts we haven't seen proposed on the kind of domestic discretionary programs that will affect the real lives of poor people .

    >> they are pretty big cuts in a very small portion of the budget.

    >> of course, from the liberal's point of view, more draw cone yeah cuts to fight from the republican side . getting obama's cuts might be a victory relative to what would happen.

    >> it will be interesting to see if there's a rupe tour on the left.

    >> there won't be. there won't. we've got the president tripling the number of troops in afghanistan, generals saying they want to stay there for another ten years. code pink is strangely quiet.

    >> so far.

    >> code pink .

    >> remember them?

    >> yes, i do remember them.

    >> i guess only republican wars are immoral.

    >> no.

    >> republican wars are immoral but democratic wars are fine.

    >> democrats fighting spending cuts, the republicans will fight the proposed tax increases. your third story driving the week, why should we --

    >> this is the biggest underreporting thing --

    >> a third of what's proposed is tax increases. we don't know what all of them are. one of them is apparently a tax increase for the wealthiest americans . elimination for things like charitable contributions. this is something republicans don't want. they don't want to see tax increases until there are substantial spending cuts. interesting to see, if there's eventually a big deal , it will be interesting to see if the right says this guy can't be thrusted because e he's just trying to raise our taxes rather than cut spending first.

    >> do you think jay carney will get much of a honeymoon, first day on the job today?

    >> i think he probably will. there's an unstable dynamic. if he makes a mistake early on, i think people may pounce on him and question whether he's up for the job. i don't think he will, but he has to be on guard against that.

    >> those are the top three stories, mark halperin stories driving the week. go to joe.msnbc.com for a full list.

    >> i said about code pink , democratic wars versus republican wars. of course, we can give the first decade of afghanistan to president bush , the second decade belongs to this president who has decided to triple down.

    >> it's obama's war now.

    >> it is now, exactly.

    >>> 7:45 a.m . mark will be doing a live web chat . go to joe.msnbc.com to submit